Wood KT GBE, Sir Ian
Scottish businessman Sir Ian Wood KT GBE rose to prominence as founder, chief executive, and chair of Wood Group, a FTSE 100 company when he retired in 2012. In 2007 he founded The Wood Foundation, which focuses its philanthropic investments and resources on efforts to reduce inequity and increase opportunities in his home country and in East Africa. In Rwanda and Tanzania, the foundation is transforming livelihoods and regional economies through venture philanthropy in the tea industry. Working with 70,000 smallholder tea farmers on 20,000 hectares of land, the foundation is providing long-term credit, developing farmers’ essential agronomic skills through field schools which train 5,000 farmers each year, and creating the infrastructure and markets for their products to ensure a sustainable industry. In Scotland, The Wood Foundation is committed to economic and educational development. Its investments are focused on school-based interventions, as well as funding efforts to reduce childhood poverty. Programs include the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative, which is cultivating the next generation of active citizens by giving more than 35,000 young people each year a hands-on role in channeling grants to charities in their own communities. The Wood Foundation is also responsible for founding Scotland’s first private sector–led economic development body, Opportunity North East, which seeks to spur an economic renaissance in Aberdeen City and Shire. What unites the foundation’s various initiatives is a focus on investing in people, empowering them with the education, training, and resources they need to help themselves achieve lasting progress.